Charles Darwin University

Charles Darwin University (Casuarina).

Charles Darwin University is the only university based in the Northern Territory. The main campus is in tropical Darwin, about 12 km from the city centre and near a beach. CDU also has regional centres in many parts of the NT and offers courses online. What's it like to study with CDU? If you've ever been a CDU student, feel free to post a review and let people know about your experiences.

CDU Rating

User Rating 2.56 (127 votes)
Comments Rating 1.2 (15 reviews)

Student Reviews

31 Responses

  1. Craig
    | Reply

    Poor VET training

    Studied there as an apprentice. Really bad, lack of current training resources and you feel like you are being pushed through to get the money. No other options in Darwin so they can do what they want.

  2. Dann
    | Reply

    Worst University Ever

    CDU is the nastiest university in Australia. I would not suggest anyone to study there because it is waste of time and money. This university is full of crap, providing the inferior quality of education while maintaining monopoly in Northern Territory. Since it has been a single University, University is ripping international students off by increasing the tuition fee every year. Most of the Lecturer at CDU are not qualified and lack of sophisticated knowledge on their unit by which it creates the chaos among the students, unable to explain and comprehend the unit well. Lecturers without professional skills for teaching present on campus merely read out the lecture slides and knock off without elaborating the unit. On top of that, Students must be confined on limited area of knowledge, but the assignment assigned is tedious which requires to study beyond the unit syllabus. Not only they assign arduous assignment, but also, they put you up for 50% weight of group assignment where you have to be in group with unknown person living in different states. How an earth it is okay to be group not knowing each other to complete this huge task? Three years university turned out to be the terrible of my academic career. University is white elephant oriented merely towards raising the tuition fee. Furthermore, University is intended to fail the students so they can get the fund out of it which shows how miserable and woeful students are.

    • Stoca
      | Reply

      Very poor university

      This University is a joke. Assignments disappear grades changes without reason rude lecturer refusing to do their job student service useless. Ridiculous

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  3. Joe Bloggs
    | Reply

    Not my clowns, not my circus: Shoddy operation but pretty damn cheap.

    Psychology program.
    Similar to the other students who have posted reviews, the university is a bit of a hopeless basket-case, but it is the cheapest online degree around- be careful, because this is its only virtue. You’ll end up paying with your time, effort and sweat.
    A few samples:
    I asked for a review of an assessment and the teacher said no, here’s the policy. The policy said the first person to ask for a review is the teacher. I quoted that paragraph but was genuinely confused and openly asked if I’m reading it wrong. She denied that’s what it meant (mature-aged student, I have written these kind of policies) I had to tell the teacher off in order to get a review. Very childish.
    Later I had another teacher do the same thing. They will lie to your face about their responsibility.
    Then there are some teachers that enjoy telling you they personally understand victims and minorities becasue they have irritable bowel syndrome (apparently it helps a person understand people in wheelchairs or with mental illness).
    There was a stats course that consisted of 500+ plain slides. This teacher later copied half her course from a course online (, I had watched this guys lectures so I recognised the content- even the images were copied. You can’t make this stuff up.
    At the same time they’ll say stuff like ‘oh but of course I would never claim to understand xyz group because I’m not xyz ethnic’. This is insulting both ways (speaking as someone who is half of each group lol). Teaching Fail.
    Quite a few students ended up dropping out of courses or failing because the teachers just decide to not teach the full hours. When you complain about it the dean just says ‘oh but you had a lot of homework’.
    Basically, you pay for teaching and you get homework instead.
    Anyway, cheap and not very cheerful.

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    • l
      | Reply


      Is it hard to get in Charles Darwin University?

    • Coops
      | Reply

      Complain to the regulator

      I would recommend you contact the HE regulator TEQSA at [email protected] for HE issues. For anybody studying VET who is having an issue make a complaint to the regulator ASQA at I would also recommend emailing the NT Ombudsman as CDU and NTG have an ‘arrangement’ . Contacting these external bodies may help to ensure improvements at CDU. Unfortunately, it will not change the experience you have had.

  4. Suri
    | Reply

    inefficient and poor quality

    I am a bacholor of nursing student in final year trying see an end to this protracted degree which was supposed to be a three year fulltime. Currently, I am enrolled to my final two units. IIt is being almost two semesters since I enrolled, still not finished. Some staff of nursing scool does not want to meet students. Does not even answer any phone calls. Most of the time what I got was excuse after excuse for not having enough placement possitions.
    placement office is overloaded with work. Furthermore, they have slashed the number of staff. I don’t really blame the remaining staff as the situation is out of their controll too.
    All in all, my overall experience with CDU Darwin is dissapointing. I would never recomentd anyone to study at CDU Darwin.

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    • TR1992
      | Reply

      Do not go here

      Agree. I am in my second year nursing student and have not yet been able to complete a placement due to them changing the semesters units are available. Some of the lecturers are good but some others are just not interested. Do not give clarification on assignments nor do they respond to emails and delete discussion boards when students start complaining about no one responding. There is about 5-6 units just based on Culture which could easily be condensed into 1 or 2 units. Feel like you lose the idea of what you are actually studying in the big picture. They sent out emails about Summer semester pracs coming out and when i asked about when we can nominate they replied that the course is already full even though nominations were never sent out. I called student services and they knew nothing about the course even being full. Spoke to administration about how I have not been able to complete a practical yet and have nearly completed 14 units and just had practicals to go and they said ‘tough luck you have to wait till 2021’ which there is still no guarantee you could get a nomination to be able to complete the practical. When I asked about their plan on moving forward due to COVID they said they are taking it step by step and they aren’t sure what the plan will be moving forward. Where does that leave all the students who need to complete their practicals to move forward with this degree. I’m looking at being a 3rd year student now with no practical completed and no end in site for my degree. Incredibly upset and will be looking at changing universities. Waste of time and money

  5. Vanessa
    | Reply

    Pick another uni

    Very poor standard of teaching. Only interested in international students as they pay triple.understaffed as they fired lecturers even though they were already busting at the seams with students. 2 lecturer has up to 700 students so can’t possibly keep up with the demands leading to substandard teaching. There are never enough placements for nursing students because they enrol more student s then they can facilitate placements for which then leads to the nursing degree taking up to a year longer than expected. I wish I had of known this earlier. I have 6 months to go and when I do my masters I would never Chose this greedy university that only cares about profit. International student, expect to have to renew your visas due to lack of placements

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    • Mark
      | Reply

      Age Discrimination at CDU

      Exactly – pick another university.
      I was given a warning about the low
      standards of teaching for CDU by local
      health professionals as early as 2010.
      Age discrimination was experienced by myself from teaching employees at CDU during 2014 and 2016 in both Engineering and Health Science faculties
      in the presence of other students by way
      of referring to myself as “the old bloke up the back” and “older people should have employment and not waste our teaching resources that younger students as a preference need”. CDU is the only
      Australian university that I have attended
      where I have experienced direct multiple events of clear age discrimination and
      attempts of teacher based humiliation
      directed towards myself as a mature student.

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    • Neddy
      | Reply


      I absolutely agree with this statement. CDU dismissed a number of lecturers (reason unknown but presumably financial) and replaced them in week 3 of semester 2 2019. One staff member now seems to be taking many subjects, and our summer semester grade release date has passed without a grade release nor any notification of when or why. Communication is appalling, mainly due to staff shortages. Nursing placements are cancelled last minute, after long waiting times to be given them initially- again due to staff shortages. Degrees are prolonged due to this. I’m amazed they keep any staff as stress levels must be extremely high for them.
      Choose elsewhere.

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  6. Rhi
    | Reply

    MEH :/

    I am currently studying a Bachelor of Nursing at CDU mixed external and face to face.

    Lecturers seems to care very little about students. Google is your friend.
    There are a few who obviously care about us but most part not really. The content has to be learnt very fast in a short amount of time. Which wouldn’t be a problem if they gave the support along side it all.

    Assigments and essays are very confusing in the questions are written.

    Ask questions told will be discussed in next lecture but if external good luck getting answers whilst logged into the online classes. Invisible.

    IDK possibly transferring to another university.

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    • Priya
      | Reply

      Hii, i am planning to start nursing via online… could you explain a bit more in terms of placements and exaams as well.

      • Sarah
        | Reply

        Stay clear

        The CDU nursing staff are extremely rude and unprofessional assessment grades are often delayed and marked by subcontractors who’s first language is not English.

        In regards to placement you are required to attend a face to face simulation block for three of the five placements. You end up spending more time in a class room going over past unit content with little time in the labs. The staff at Sydney are just casual bank nurses trying to transition into academia that have less than five years full time nursing experience in nursing. Their experience is limited and are more focused on office politics than teaching. They usually ask the EEN students to teach the non EEN students while they chat in the corner. You cannot access the facilities outside class hours.

        The CDU policy’s fine print says CDU will try and secure you placement within 12 months of completing placement otherwise you are required to repeat simulation block. They can place you anywhere in Australia at the drop of a hat. They do not offer any support while you are on placement.

        Exams are outsourced to subcontractors and if you paper is lost you get blamed.

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        • Anon
          | Reply

          Do NOT GO HERE

          The placement team is horrible, I can’t believe there are only two staff members, it is disgusting how little the University cares for its student’s education. They simply want money from the students and don’t care if this drags out their studies. I understand that the University doesn’t have first pick of all the placement opportunities, but at least hire enough staff to take care of the students who are treated as basically invisible!! I’m looking at transferring as I’ve never felt to feel so useless and invisible in my life. Stop giving the Dean pay rises and start looking after the actual income source – your STUDENTS!!! Don’t leave this much burden on TWO STAFF MEMBERS to deal with THOUSANDS of STUDENTS!!!

          And after all this – the excuse is that they just aren’t enough of a developed Uni and in a remote location. Bullshit. The truth is that HOSPITALS steer clear of them!! The amount of nurses who I have told I’m from CDU! They have ALL said to me that “oh *groan* CDU is so fussy about their requirements, we HATE dealing with them,”. Wow. So I am paying to study with a Uni that hospitals hate, so FURTHER decreasing my chances of getting a placement.

          Yes I’m aware I sound like a ranting moron, and I’ll be surprised if you’re even still reading. But this is pathetic! Literally worse than a pyramid scheme. I feel embarrassed to call CDU my university! I’d have more pride in telling people I sell Pure Romance and TUPPERWARE for a living for God’s sake!

          They aren’t a university, they’re a business. A business who takes more money from international students than domestic ones, and let’s them study regardless of whether they understand English or not because cha-ching!!! Take a good, hard look at yourself CDU because this is just embarrassing. I’d put money on the fact that they will be obsolete by 2030 and probably shut down by the government due to fraud or debt.

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  7. Helen Nunn
    | Reply

    Glad I have finished with CDU

    I have been studying online through CDU for the last few years and gave it away.No support and lack of respect.from lecturers and no one cares. No interaction with other students. My husband studies through Murdoch university, Perth and it is fantastic. I have always found the lecturers at CDU very poor with communication.

    • Disappointed Education Student
      | Reply

      Disappointed Education Student

      I feel the same way Helen. . I have decided to give it away as I found no support from anyone. The lecturers do not care and will eventually reply to your emails when they are ready. My course has recently been discontinued whilst half way through my degree. There has been no support from course coordinator. There has been no flexibility to transfer to the Bachelor of Ed graduate entry to the Masters degree as its two different degrees and they want me to pay the fee through SATAC. I had a painful time last year with my practical as I had to find it myself(Inschool office staff very rude) and then this year CDU changed the rules to only the University finds placements. There was a lot of stress and expense. So in my opinion it has been a horrible experience and I would highly recommend another University.

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  8. Mark
    | Reply

    Disgraceful Teachers

    Don’t waste your time or money.
    Teaching staff who think they can
    get away with all sorts of insults and rude communication. Just because Darwin is remote doesn’t
    make you that important that you
    can treat students with such disrespect – especially school of environment. Students will just go elsewhere – as they do.

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  9. Line
    | Reply


    -small classes, fewer students, compare to other uni
    -lower tuition fees compare to other uni
    -stay in a lovely small city, Darwin
    -lectures with very great qualifications and experience (note: doesn’t mean all of them are great lectures though!)
    -easy parking, a lot of free parking
    -good wifi coverage
    -plenty of space to study in computer labs (till 1 am! with fridges and microwaves), library and empty classrooms (heaps of them!!).
    -quite happy with blackboard paltform (online classroom), free Microsoft programs and online library resources.

    -a lot of units only offered once a year and some of them don’t have internal classes (hence you must plan ahead what you gonna take and when).
    -good luck if you are external students, you need to study independently as some lectures won’t bother to give online lectures.
    -no uni life (unless you are staying in the uni accommodation).
    -bad internal communications among staff members overall.
    -canteen only sell food during lunch hour, no convenient store available.

    other notes:
    -there are a lot of mature age students, online students, part-time students. It means they are quite busy with their own life hence you hardly see any students in uni! you will hardly find same classmates throughout your degree. Orientation week is a must if you want to find networks with fellow students from your course.
    -If your course has placements/ intern/ practicums you must be really careful (with the availability, arrangements, mentors, and other classes and assignments due at the same time!) if you were from CDU u know what I mean!!
    -I am not surprised at all with all the comments here, it is just the way Territory is (slack, they couldn’t care less)
    -overall, if you prioritised your study, CDU is an OK uni to go, you won’t struggle too much.

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  10. sjb440
    | Reply

    I study nursing with cdu they are the worse uni ever don’t do it go anywhere else I’m near the end but I’m changing uni Soi can actually get somewhere and have a future

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    • Rhi
      | Reply

      Which University did you switch to?
      I’m thinking of changing.

  11. Reet
    | Reply

    Awful university

    I made a mistake by choosing CDU.very greedy university.All they are interested in to make money from students.Their focus is to collect money.Hate being with them.

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    • Mark Williams
      | Reply

      Disgraceful University not Fruendly to Mature Aged Students

      You’re not alone Reet. This dispair of attending CDU can be overwhelming. As a mature age student I have had aweful experiences over a three year period including but not limited to: open class lecturer references to my age; rude and aggressive lecturer behaviour (including being locked out of an engineering lecture in late 2014) when I was two minutes late due to a motor vehicle accident; unprofessional behaviour and confrontational approach from disability services at CDU; poor management and responses from CDU complaints management persons; overall high turnover of student teaching staff. It is still an expense and the years drift by to try to actively embrace a future employment role and this is the main frustration when we realise the true scope of lost opportunity by attending CDU. My heart goes out to you and I hope you can find a solution.

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  12. Astrid
    | Reply

    At the moment I study at Charles Darwin University for an Associated Degree in Networks Engineering and I am very disappointed and think that my studies are a waste of time an money. Some lectures can not even been bothered to give the gradings or comments for the assignments so you can study a bit more in the fields where there are problems.
    Or you get answers like ” Google is your best friend” for a question that has been asked.
    I am not paying to get answers like that.
    It sounds to me that I could do a degree just with google.
    Than the response time from the lecture is from fast to not at all for questions that you ask in an email or when you get stuck with a problem in the assignment (where u have to follow instructions out of a book) .
    Than the other thing is that they like to do online assignments, which would be not a bad thing, if the assignment would not be change in the last minute to an content which you have just mentioned in lectures but not discussed any further, so you have no idea how to solve the problem.
    Other lecturer like to take slides from teaching staff that have taught the subject before, and this slides would bee very good, if they would be in context with the lectures.
    Oh and another thing is, how can it be that a lecture is proud of the fact that just 40% of the students in his class pass his subject?
    I think that is nothing what you can be proud of.
    And this goes on and on.
    At first I though it was just me that has had problems but after a while it turned out that it was not just me, other students were struggling as well.
    So if I could chose again I would not waist my time and money on this university again.

  13. Marree
    | Reply

    Currently studying as an external student in Indigenous Knowledges ( I’m non indigenous). So far out of 5 courses, 3 lecturers were terrific. All were very engaged in a student’s learning journey. Daily comments after a student’s post on the forums/blogs made students feel truly interactive. Live online classes. I’ve been achieving distinctions in all my work save for one prof who was a doctoral student at the time. She was absent from any online activity, uploaded previous semester material and was unduly cutting in her grading of assignments and I received a passing grade only. All in all, it’s been a positive experience so far. CDU, I believe, offers the best degree for Indigenous studies of all Australian Universities.

  14. romars acharya
    | Reply

    Darwin is diverse culturally and there are markets in several locations

  15. TM
    | Reply

    I am currently doing my study with CDU. Doing Bach. of Env. Science. It’s been very disappointing. I echo what has been written already, in that the level of teaching and support provided to external students is poor. I transferred from Bach. of Exercise and Sports Science, to Env. Science. But, I am now considering transferring to JCU, in order to have better support from the Lecturers – and to be able to attend a Uni, since I am now living in Townsville.

    There has been one Lecturer out of the three years I have been studying part-time with CDU, who has bothered to initiate contact with me. She made sure the unit content made sense and also followed up half-way through the Semester. The other issue that I have found with this Uni, is the pressure for the exams. Of all the subjects that I have sat a test for, there has only been one test for the whole semester, and that one test is worth 50% of your overall mark. Huge amount of pressure to try and remember 12 weeks of important points. That is so frustrating. When I didn’t do so well with my recent exam (S2-2016), I had a note from the Lecturer to ‘do more exam prep’. Little did he know the amount of hours that I was doing for exam prep. Trying to remember the quantity of data, to ready for a long-answer exam is extremely tedious. When going from doing Assignments then to do a long-written responses for the exam seems to also be dis-jointed. There is no practice with the types of long-written responses that they are looking for. 3 hours for the tests that goes quick when hand-writing out long-responses.

  16. S
    | Reply

    Would not recommend. I was born and bred in Darwin and applied here thinking it would provide me with a decent education. I regret coming here as I wasted my time on a 4 year degree of which I was able to do nothing with. With passes and credits in hand, I was accepted into a university in a different state, applied for the same course, and received distinctions all the way through. Poor standard of teaching at CDU. Save your money because that seems to be all they’re interested in.

  17. bluestocking
    | Reply

    I was an external student enrolled into the Bachelor of Education and have recently completed my study.
    I would describe my overall learning experience at CDU when compared with my learning experiences at other Uni’s/Tafe and private RTO’s as poor. I would not feel comfortable about recommending the Bachelor of Education offered by CDU.

    There are a few standout lecturers who do a wonderful job. There are many who standout because their ability to do their job is questionable. These lecturers are slow to respond to emails and questions posed on the discussion boards, or they simply do not respond to questions at all. This is less than ideal for external students who have no other way to connect with their lecturers.

    When I was shopping around for a uni I spoke with the course coordinator who told me that as an external student I would have access to online classes and have real time access to lecturers. This could not be further from the truth. Only two – yes two lecturers in my entire Bachelor Award offered weekly or fortnightly classes. The rest offered no online classes at all or uploaded pre recorded lectures for students to watch. Usually these re recorded lectures were offered very sporadically. So as an external student do not expect much in the way of lectures.

    In my final placement unit the lecturer changed the assessment and marking rubric three times during the period that the subject ran. I actually did not think that an RTO could do this. These actions created a great deal of stress for the students and made the Uni look unprofessional.

    Poorly written assessments, a lack of marking rubrics in some units, missing instructions for assessments where ongoing issues. Another common issue was that some lecturers would just reloaded the course resources from one semester to the next without checking that web links were still active, while another faculty area was grading students referencing against outdated APA referencing styles because the staff had not bothered to check the APA style that the Uni was asking students to use. I paid for and expected a better quality of service than that.

    There are huge issues in the placement faculty, all of their documentation needs to be proof read and edited as I found that on different parts of the placement website and in the actual placement documents there is conflicting information. Again this causes distress to students when they are trying to organise placement and determine what the placement requirements actually are.

    If you do not reside in the Northern Territory be aware that you will need to find your own teaching placements. This is difficult to do because schools generally have a contract with their own state uni’s to provide placement opportunities for their students. So many schools will not take on CDU students. My advice would be that if you are interested in becoming a teacher, study at a uni that will find your placements for you. I personally know of one CDU student who gave up his study because he could not secure a placement and I also know of three students who dropped out of CDU and transferred to a uni in their own state because of issues around placement.

  18. Brodee
    | Reply

    Save your future self and look at studying at ANY other university. I’ve studied at CDU since 2011 and regret it. CDU offers no support (unless you’re indigeneous), no uni life and you’re expected to organise your lecturers. A perfect example of a CDU experience is just this year i applied to graduate, which lead to an email of confirmation and then a week later i was informed that i had to study one more unit in order to qualify to graduate, even though it wasn’t in the original course content. Half way through that unit i was told that i could graduate without completing it so i unenrolled and applied to graduate as i was told to do so by the graduation department. The next day i received a phone call from graduation to inform me i cannot graduate without doing that unit. Very disappointed.

  19. Sandra
    | Reply

    I can’t say I would recommend it. I completed a one year Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning at CDU in 2012. The course did little to prepare me for teaching. Considering that it was a condensed course, the course was overly theoretical. Much of the content was distanced from the reality of the profession. I was surprised that so little attention was given to the teaching of Aboriginal students when they comprise more than 40% of the student population in the Northern Territory. The work load burnt most students out as it included an 80 day prac (teaching, programming, lessons plans) alongside assignments with extensive and impossible reading lists. I didn’t hear any other students in the course saying that they thought it was a great course. On the positive side accommodation had expanded with the construction of several new buildings. Bus services still come directly to the entrance of the campus. The campus is near the beach and it is the tropics… warm to very warm all year. Darwin is diverse culturally and there are markets in several locations on a regular basis.

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